It’s like lightning.
Maggie recognizes the agent stalking across the tarmac instantly.
She’s older and her hair is much shorter, but those eyes have haunted Maggie for more than ten years. She would know them anywhere. The woman standing before her is Alex— her Alex— and she suddenly feels like that fourteen year old girl again, seeing that picture of her pen pal for the very first time.
The agent fits her hands on her hips, twisting her mouth into a scowl, but Maggie is anything but intimidated. She’s never seen this expression on Alex’s face in person, but she’s drawn it up in her mind so many times while reading accounts of absent parents and annoying little sisters that it seems familiar.
They trade barbs over charred carpet and crispy limousine debris and if Alex recognizes her, she doesn’t show it. She doesn’t even hesitate to shove her own identification in Maggie’s face.
Agent Danvers. Secret Service.
Maggie glances from the badge to her face, still fixed with a frown. The freckles that dotted the bridge of her nose in those early pictures are faded, and Maggie wonders if she ever makes the time to surf anymore.
Maggie never would have guessed her former pen pal would someday end up a Secret Service Agent. Alex had always talked about her love of science, and so she always used to imagine Alex in a hospital doing life-saving surgery or in a lab somewhere curing cancer; but here she is, trying to claim jurisdiction of Maggie’s crime scene.
Completely unexpected, but so incredibly intriguing.
She heads to the precinct after she’s confident the forensics unit has the scene under control. She’s made a few calls to some of her contacts, but so far she hasn’t had any leads, so she takes advantage of the downtime to do some investigating of her own.
A cursory search of “ Alexandra Danvers” brings up far less information than she anticipated. It’s almost as if the search results have been scrubbed. There’s a few scientific articles, many of which focus on biomedical engineering, and a few programs from international scientific conferences from years past; but her researcher bios listed there are also frustratingly vague. All she can glean from them is that Alex Danvers is a brilliant scientist with multiple PhDs and an expertise in alien physiology. She supposes the academic achievements aren’t unheard of for a Secret Service agent, but the subject matter doesn’t seem to match the career path.
Maggie taps her fingers idly on her desk, then alters the search to “Alex Danvers” and scrolls through the results until she finds a Facebook profile that is mostly bare, save for a few photographs Alex has been tagged in by a blonde woman with a bright smile. Kara Danvers. The sister. She’s glad to see they seem to have grown closer over the years.
She can’t help wondering about the timing of all of this. She’s lived in National City for a year now, yet she and Alex have only just crossed paths. True, it’s a much bigger city than Blue Springs, or even Omaha, but they seemed to run in the same circles— literally, judging by the link Alex had posted to a marathon that Maggie herself had run a few months back.
Her phone buzzes with a tip about an abandoned warehouse in the Arts District. Rekindling her friendship with Alex will have to wait, she has a case to work.
Alex Danvers is DEO.
Maggie has heard whispers about the black ops group since she joined the Science Division, but she’s never gotten confirmation of their existence— that is, until she finds herself face to face with Alex again while tracking down the alien responsible for the attack at the airport. This time, she isn’t wearing the power suit, instead kitted out in all black tactical gear and toting a gun larger than anything the NCPD has in their weapons cache. She looks confident and a little bit dangerous and Maggie finds that she enjoys each version of Alex more than the next.
Maggie convinces herself that it’s professional courtesy that leads her to invite Alex to the alien bar. They’re looking for leads on their rogue Kryptonian, that’s all. But even so, when Alex pulls up on her sleek Ducati, the funny feeling in the pit of her stomach that she always associated with her pen pal makes a sudden, unfortunately timed resurgence.
Once they find a table and Darla leaves them alone, Maggie feels herself relax more than she has in anyone’s company in ages. Again, she has to remind herself that they’re here on recon, not on a first date, but it’s comfortable with Alex and she can’t help flirting just a little.
She has tried so hard for years to forget Alex, but now that they’re sitting at the same sticky bar table, the embers of her childhood crush simmer, only to come roaring back to life once Alex reveals that she’s also a lesbian.
Maggie doesn’t want to get her hopes up, but she thinks maybe, just maybe she isn’t imagining the spark of interest that she sees reflected in Alex’s eyes.
Now that the adrenaline of the day has subsided, Maggie is left feeling raw.
She groans, sinking down onto her couch, a bottle of beer in hand. She may have only sustained a bruised collarbone and some first degree burns, but she’s still exhausted. Maybe she should have taken Alex up on her offer to stay and get some rest at the DEO. The agent had looked disappointed that Maggie turned it down, but her explanation of wanting to be in her own bed seemed to assuage that.
The television flickers on and she surfs through the channels aimlessly. Most of the news is centered on coverage of the Alien Amnesty Act, so she settles in to watch the talking heads argue about the job market and public safety concerns. Her phone lights up with a text and she curses as she looks at the time. She’s completely forgotten about the date she had scheduled.
She knows she should probably apologize and beg to reschedule later on in the week, particularly because this is the third date she’s missed in two weeks, but she doesn’t really want to. Laura is nice and fun to be around, but Maggie never really thought it would last. She’s been around the block enough times to know that typically women aren’t interested in the darker parts of her job. When she’s called out to a crime scene in the middle of the night, she’s not dedicated or hardworking, she’s insensitive and obsessed with her job. So Maggie isn’t surprised when she opens the message to reveal a scathing breakup text. She’s more upset about being called a sociopath than anything else.
Her phone lights up once more and she steels herself for a continuation of Laura’s tirade, but it isn’t her ex— it’s Alex asking if she got home alright. The way her chest tightens when she sees Alex’s name on the screen tells her everything. It’s good that Laura broke up with her because it wouldn’t be fair to continue seeing her when she clearly still has feelings for Alex.
She has to deal with that sooner rather than later. The longer she waits, the worse it will be. Then not only will Alex be angry with her for essentially ghosting her all those years ago, she’ll be angry with her for hiding it now. Maggie turns back to her phone, tapping a quick message to Alex to confirm that she’s home and resting, and sighs.
It was so much easier to talk to Alex when she was far away. As close as they were, there was always that barrier of distance that made it easier to open up. She needs that now.
Before she even realizes what she’s doing, there’s a half used legal pad on her lap with the words Dear Alex appearing at the top of the page. She hasn’t done this in years, but it comes back to her so naturally.
It’s been so long since I’ve written to you and I’m so sorry for that. I wish I could say that my letters got lost in the mail, but the reality is that I was scared to write to you.
You see, when I was fourteen, I fell in love with a girl. She was smart, funny, and beautiful. So beautiful. Her name was Alex and she lived in Midvale, California and we would write to each other constantly. She was my best friend, but I wanted her to be more.
On Valentine’s Day, I finally got up the courage to tell her how I felt. I had it all planned out: the perfect card, a cheesy long distance date, everything. But then my dad found the card I’d written and tossed me out. He disowned me because I was gay and then I spent the next four years living with my aunt in Omaha.
I should have told you all of this then. I shouldn’t have just run like I did, but I was scared, Alex. I didn’t know what you would think of me if I admitted that I liked you so much more than as a best friend. So instead I tried my best to forget you, because the alternative hurt so badly.
Then… I saw you at the airport. I knew it was you the minute we met and just like that it was like no time had passed. Being with you is so much better than I ever imagined it being.
But now I’m stuck, Alex. If I tell you who I am, I run the risk of ruining this relationship that we’re building now. But I can’t not tell you because then I’m just lying to you. And someday you’ll figure it out. You’ll put the pieces together, if you haven’t already. You probably already have. I’ve been hinting at it and you’re so clever.
It’s just so much easier to tell you all of this on paper. It’s easier to treat you like my pen pal, rather than the woman I’m falling for again.
Maggie scratches the last part out. They’d only just met again and she can’t allow herself to feel like that so quickly. Not when there’s a very real chance that when she comes clean, Alex may never want to speak to her again.
It’s times like this when she really misses her aunt. Maria always knows the right thing to say, even if it sometimes takes her a while to say it.
She leaves the letter unfinished on her coffee table and reaches for her phone instead, dialing the number she’s had memorized since she was fourteen.
“Maggie Sawyer, do you know what time it is?” Her aunt’s voice is tinny through the phone. “You haven’t called in weeks.”
“I’m sorry, Aunt Maria, I know it’s late.” Maggie can’t help but smile, even as her aunt prepares to launch into a lecture.
“Is everything alright? You aren’t hurt, are you?”
“No, no I’m not hurt.” It’s not a lie. Not really. The wounds are superficial, nothing to worry her aunt about. “I just… need your advice.”
She can hear her aunt shifting on the other side of the line, probably going to fix herself a cup of tea like she always would when Maggie had a rough day at school.
“Alright kid, tell me everything.”
Maggie glances back at the half-finished letter taunting her from the coffee table and takes a deep breath. “Do you remember Alex?”
Working with Alex— being around Alex— is better than she could have ever imagined. Their friendship had always come easy, but part of her had worried that maybe that connection they’d had as teenagers wouldn’t translate to the real world. She’s never been so glad to be wrong. They make an amazing team and even the other officers at the station have started to take notice, teasing her about her fed.
Maggie knows the feeling is mutual when Alex shows up to the warehouse where the alien fight club is being held and proceeds to stumble over her words at the sight of her in formal wear. She can’t say she isn’t equally stunned by Alex, but she’s at least able to better hide her flushed skin.
Together— well, with the help of Supergirl— they bring down the fight club and arrest Roulette, but the exhilaration of a case closed doesn’t last long. The problem with trying to get an influential person like Roulette off the streets is that they’ve got contacts in high places, including in law enforcement.
Against her better judgement, she accepts an invite from Alex to go out for drinks. It’s not that she doesn’t want to spend time with Alex, in fact her company more than makes up for the professional sleight of Roulette getting off scot free. It’s just that the more time she spends with Alex, growing closer to the other woman, the more her guilt builds.
During their call, her aunt had urged her to tell Alex, to let go of the fear of rejection her parents had instilled in her, and to let herself be happy. Maggie had every intention of telling Alex the next time she saw her, but then they were working the Roulette case and it just didn’t feel like the right time. She knows deep down that there never will be a right time, and the longer she waits the worse a possible negative reaction will be.
Maggie watches as Alex grins at her from across the pool table. The blue lights of the bar give her an ethereal glow and she looks beautiful. So beautiful.
The next time they meet up for pool, Maggie will tell her. She has to.
Alex Danvers is kissing her.
When she was younger, she’d imagined this moment. She remembers writing to Alex in her childhood bedroom and thinking about what it would be like to see Alex in person. To be able to count the freckles on her cheeks, to see how her eyes sparkle when she smiles, and to hold her hand. The idea of kissing Alex made her 14-year-old self’s heart pound.
In those teenage fantasies they’d be walking on the beach hand-in-hand or sitting in a meadow on a picnic basket, surrounded by fireflies— someplace romantic. She would brush Alex’s long hair behind her ear and gently cup her cheeks. She’d tell Alex how beautiful she was, and then she’d lean in and press their lips together.
Now that it’s actually happening, everything seems so surreal. She knows it’s cliche, but it’s as if time stops and it’s just her and Alex in that moment. All she wants is to lose herself in the kiss and in Alex, but she can’t. She knows she can’t.
“Alex, wait…” She places a hand on Alex’s chest. She’s been hiding the truth from Alex for too long and she needs to explain before things go any further. She just hopes that Alex will understand why she waited. She’s just been so afraid of rejection. She needed to be sure that Alex felt the same way...
Alex jerks back, her eyes widening as she looks down to where Maggie’s fingers rest gently against her breastbone. “I’m. I’m sorry.”
She backs away from Maggie, stumbling as she makes her way towards the exit. Maggie tries to call after her, but it’s no use. She doesn’t even turn her head. Alex is gone. She’s gone and she doesn’t know how Maggie feels about her— about their shared history or how much she means to her.
Suddenly Maggie is fourteen years old again, staring into the fireplace as her notebook crackles and burns.
This time though, she refuses to let history repeat itself.
She sends Alex multiple text messages.
Alex, I’m sorry, it’s not what you think.
Alex, I really like you, I just need to tell you something.
Alex, please respond.
She knows Alex is receiving them— she can see the receipts— but she doesn’t get a response.
Back at home she paces.
Alex thinks she didn’t want to kiss her. She thinks Maggie was rejecting her, but the reality is so far from that. She was right before, when she wrote that she was falling for Alex again. She’s in so deep that she feels like she’s drowning and she needs Alex to know the depth of her feelings.
She takes the legal pad, still resting on the coffee table and resumes writing.
It’s just so much easier to tell you all of this on paper. It’s easier to treat you like my pen pal, rather than the woman
I’m falling for again. I’ve fallen for again.
Kissing you was everything I’d dreamed of, but I couldn’t let things go further until you knew. That’s why I’m writing you this letter finally.
I should have told you that night at the alien bar, but part of me knew that you would be angry, and rightfully so.
I understand if you never want to talk to me again after this. I’ll respect that. I’ll disappear. But you’re so important to me Alex, and I don’t want to lose you again. I don’t want to imagine my life without you in it.
Maggie lets out a breath she didn’t know she was holding. Before she can lose her nerve, she carefully tears the letter from the legal pad. She doesn’t have an envelope, so instead she uses a bit of tape to fold it into thirds and writes Alex’s name on the blank surface.
Alex’s apartment is across town, but she gets there in record time. Each footfall echoes in the hallway, her anxiety growing with each step closer to Alex’s door. She’d thought about knocking on the drive over, but she doesn’t want to force Alex into talking to her if she really doesn’t want to. Kneeling down, she slips the letter under the door.
That will have to do. At the very least, Maggie feels like she’s finally honest with Alex about everything, and if Alex wants nothing to do with her, she’ll be alright with that. It will hurt, but she’s been through it before. She’ll survive. It’s what she does.
Still, Maggie hopes that this time, things will be different.
It’s half past nine when Maggie hears a knock on her door.
It’s probably Mrs. Johnson from down the hall, bringing her some leftover casserole. Ever since Maggie helped the old woman with her groceries a few weeks back, she has been repaying the kindness in food. Maggie can’t really complain, particularly when she doesn’t have to cook after a long night pouring over case files.
When she opens the door though, it isn’t Mrs. Johnson, with her cat-eye glasses and fuzzy slippers, it’s Alex. Maggie’s letter is opened in her hands, the paper slightly crinkled, as if it had been held too tightly. Her eyes are wide and she looks as breathless as Maggie feels. Had she run up the stairs?
“Hey.” Alex’s voice is steady, but she looks like she’s about to leap out of her boots.
“Do you uh,” Maggie pauses, unsure, “Do you want to come in?”
Alex nods and Maggie ushers her through the doorway, turning to the kitchen to grab them both a drink. Standing with Alex in her small kitchen, both of them with a beer in hand, feels surreal. The letter— the elephant in the room— is still held tightly in Alex’s hand.
“So,” Maggie says, “You know then.”
“I’ve known for a while.” Alex won’t meet her eyes. “Since that first time at the bar.”
“You didn’t say anything.”
“Neither did you.”
“I know,” Maggie concedes, “and I’m sorry for that.”
“It’s okay. I’m not angry. Well, not anymore...” Alex trails off, looking up at the ceiling. “I was angry for a while when I first realized it was you. But after reading your letter…”
Alex sets her drink down and unfolds the letter. Maggie watches as her eyes dart across the page once more and it’s almost if she can see the wheels in Alex’s head still turning.
“When you stopped writing I was devastated,” she says. “I thought I’d done something wrong. That you’d just… grown tired of me.”
“Alex, I could never.”
“No, I… I know that now.” Alex finally meets her gaze. “I just. This got me thinking. We’ve missed so much time and um… I don’t want to lose any more. Life is too short and we should kiss the girls we want to kiss. So... can I?”
Maggie is nodding before Alex even finishes her sentence. She brushes Alex’s hair behind her ear, frames her face with her hands, and finally kisses her pen pal the way she’d always dreamed.
“Hey babe, I’m home!” Maggie calls as she shrugs off her uniform jacket by the front door. She hangs it on the coat rack, making a mental note to take it to the cleaners before she had to wear it again.
Her wife is busy chopping vegetables in the kitchen while their daughter sits at the island working on her homework. Maggie pads into the room quietly, just taking a moment to bask in the domestic bliss of being with her two favorite people.
Jamie’s face scrunches up. “Mom, I don’t understand this problem, can you help?”
Alex sets down her knife and wipes her hands on her jeans before leaning over Jamie to take a look at the page. Maggie watches as Alex patiently explains the concept, Jamie nodding, hanging on to her mother’s every word.
Even after years of being married to Alex Danvers and having a kid with her, Maggie still finds herself blown away by how lucky she is. The fourteen year old girl that had been thrown out by her parents could have never imagined that one day she would be so happy.
Alex looks up from Jamie’s homework and softens as she catches sight of Maggie. “Hey you. How was your meeting?”
“Long. Boring.” Maggie kneels down to give Jamie a hug, then straightens up to kiss Alex. As soon as she touches her wife, the last bits of stress from her day slowly recede, replaced by warmth and love. “Sometimes I regret taking this promotion. There’s so much bureaucracy.”
Alex drapes her arms over Maggie’s shoulders, her fingers rubbing small circles into the back of Maggie’s neck. “If it’ll make you feel better, we can go to the DEO range this weekend after Jamie’s softball game?”
Maggie grins, tightening her hold around Alex’s waist and kissing her once more. “Why Mrs. Danvers, are you trying to seduce me?”
“Would you like that, Mrs. Danvers?” Alex teases, a flirtatious glint in her eyes.
Maggie makes a mental note to ask Kara if she’d be willing to take Jamie for a few hours after her softball game. It’s been too long since she and Alex have gotten some time alone.
“Ugh moms you’re so embarrassing!” Jamie groans, making both Maggie and Alex laugh.
Maggie pulls away from Alex, letting her get back to making dinner, and takes a seat next to Jamie at the table,
“So, what did you do at school today?” she asks.
Jamie taps her pencil thoughtfully against her nose. “Learned about the Alien Amnesty Act in Social Studies. Then had a math quiz. And then… Oh!” Jamie’s face lights up instantly. “I have a pen pal!”
Maggie’s heart clenches at the memory those words trigger. She meets Alex’s gaze from across the room and knows that they’re both thinking the exact same thing. She turns back to her daughter, tilting her head, and smiles.
“You do? Tell me all about it.”